Having been a facilitator of Conscious Ageing for the past decade with members of the University of the Third Age as my participants, I felt a strong urge at the beginning of 2020. It was the need to refocus my work from emphasising the personal growth of the individual senior and awaken my cohort to the dangers of continued climate disruption.
First Meeting of the year
So it was at our first meeting which took place at the beginning of February that I tentatively suggested to those present the proposed shift of focus. My motivation emerged from some unknown inner forces emanating from deep within my body. I was not able to determine why I started to liken myself to Joan of Arc, of all people. I just felt this need to share with my friends, family and associates this intuitive feeling that each and every one of us needed to do their very best to come to terms with the dangers on our doorstep. Civilisation which had progressed for many millennia was going to regress, and in the worst case scenario humankind as we understand it was going to undergo a major disruption.
Covid-19 comes to South Africa
It was the following month of March that the knowledge emerged that the Covid-19 virus was going to be a threat to life here in South Africa, just like the rest of the world. It was now on my doorstep. Until this time, it was something that was happening in China, far away from us. So, it was just those few weeks after I had publicly announced my realisation of the association between the Covid pandemic and climate change, that this juxtaposition started to appear in the public domain.
As I look back from the present moment in July, just four months after the lockdown was announced in South Africa, I realise how my early hunches are starting to penetrate the consciousness of all around me. I still feel a little alarmist when suggesting to people they need to take up a vegetarian diet, or dedicate themselves to a less consumptive lifestyle, or suggesting they should regularly be showing their gratitude for being protected by their comparative financial security.
Becoming a Climate Ambassador
However, I am now just one week into my global training as an ambassador for Climate Reality. I have been exposed to the thoughts, philosophies and activism or people throughout the world who have enriched my understanding of the urgency of motivating my contemporaries to play their part in the revolution in thought and values that need to take place.
Emerging from the Social Sciences
I have always been interested in the social sciences. I studied psychology and social anthropology for my Bachelor of Arts and subsequently was involved in education from many different perspectives. Now I realise how all the knowledge and skills around teaching and learning, I have developed during my lifetime need to be invested in helping this disturbing transformation in climatic conditions.
Confluence of Critical Challenges
The confluence of Covid 19 with the callous death of George Floyd at the knee of the police has raised public awareness of the structural inequalities in our society. I am starting to visualise how climate change must be part of the solution. We need to revolutionise the thinking around our present brand of capitalism, and the manner in which our limited democracies are working.
And, a Silver Lining
For me personally there has been a silver lining to all the restrictions to which I have been exposed. My facilitations in Conscious Ageing have been moved into the zoom room. I have all of a sudden developed an international audience. I have participants from South Africa, Australia, England, Ireland and America for the fortnightly discussions on Zoom So, what a wonderful way to start working on sharing my understanding of the inter-relationship between human inequality, major discrepancies between the rich and the poor, unequal access to health and education, and denial of opportunities to the present disadvantaged group.
Moving to a Sustainable Future
Let us look at all these factors. Ideally, they all need to be evolved and transformed to create a sustainable lifestyle on this planet. There are models that have been developed over the last decade to show that these changes are possible. Let us work on it together to ensure that humanity not only thrives but becomes more fair and equal going forward.